Sunday, 24 August 2014

Catching up....

New to this? Check out the First Post

It has been a while since the last blog - life has been pretty busy. I have been working, mainly (saving up my holiday for a BIG trip in October - more of that later!)  - the library seems to have become a lot busier since it has been under threat of "reshaping"! Also I've been trying to reach my target of getting 136 children to join the Summer Reading Challenge singlehandedly. I really miss Tracy!!!

Will I make it - and get 87 Completers (ones who've read 6 books) before the kids go back to school?? Watch this space :-)

We have had some #IceBucketChallenges going on in the family - Nathan did his yesterday - click here to see it He had been challenged by Sarah - see that here Also Zoe in York had a go too - look!
Very proud of them all (and so happy that I haven't been nominated :-)) If you fancy donating for these brave wet people - then this is the Just Giving page for the UK charity. I am now looking forward to seeing Darren, Paul and any random Interference player having a go next....

Mine, Jan's and Nathan's flowers.
We have had time for some fun though. We have been to another Painty Party at Portofino and Janet came with us this time. It was great fun and the theme was flowers. I am really looking forward to the next one - which will be on 2nd September. Come along - the food is amazing and the painting is very relaxing! Craig can coax a masterpiece out of anyone!

Last week we had the Jigsaw School Apps Christmas Party! No, we're not a bit early but actually incredibly late - it was the 2013 one!

It has taken a while to get Jodi, from our London office together with Darren and Nathan from the Staffordshire offices.
It's Christmaaaaaas!!

We had crackers and hats too!

Yummy Havana stew
 In fact Jodi and his lovely fiancée Claire are soon to move to the USA and are getting married there in October. Claire is from California and we are very happy that we have been invited to attend. I've never been to California and Monterey looks gorgeous! We can't wait - and are busy checking out the flights and deciding where else to visit while we are over there. I'd love to go to San Francisco too.

We went to Castro's - a fab Cuban restaurant in Cheddleton. The food was really good - and a little different to Mexican food. I tried the Havana Stew - a delicious mixture of tender beef, chicken and chorizo with tomatoes and beans in a red wine sauce. I'd love to have it again! Hmmm maybe there's a recipe somewhere.

There were some curious looks from other diners and the staff - but only one group wished us Happy Christmas as they left! It was a very enjoyable evening and I hope the staff didn't mind too much when we left long after the other customers. We had a lot to catch up on - and also the crackers had a quiz in them so we had to challenge each other!

Talking of recipes - I made some cherry scones this week. I have felt increasingly guilty about sitting watching Great British Bake Off and never baking anything myself. Cherry scones are my favourite - so I got up early on Wednesday and made some! They only lasted a couple of days - so I think they came out okay :-)

I quite enjoyed Bread Week on GBBO - although I'm not sure I'd have liked Jordan's cheesecake loaf. Shame he left though - he was a fun contestant!

This week we also had a musical evening. We went to Blakey's Café Bar in Paradise Street for their Open Mike night. It was amazing!! Who knew there was SO MUCH talent in Newcastle area?


There must have been 10 different acts on - including a 15 y.o. guy called Alex with an incredible voice and guitar technique. He sang Bang Bang (Audio Bullys style) and 7 Nation Army. There was a lot of variety - loads of song we know and some we didn't. I liked one chap called Bob (I think) who wrote his won songs and was singing about strolling on Biddulph Moor.

Aunty Anne - who dare take her on? :-)

The hosts Paul and Karen were brilliant too! We have got to go back again! Great night, free entertainment and an amazing selection of beers.

We had visitors from Up North last week. My mum's little sister, Auntie Anne came to stay for a fun-packed week! She still lives near Nelson, Lancashire - where I was born and lived for the first 10 years of my life.

She taught us all how to make loom bands (she doesn't like to get bored!) and we all went to Taybarns for a buffet lunch one day. She was lucky to get a really nice hot week - so we could gather in my mum and dad's back garden.

Enjoying the sun with all the family

Swingball on the lawn!